Professors at the “Mogaisky” Military Space Academy and “Peter the Great” Technological University in Petersburg invented an electric ion engine that could be used in the future for reclaiming deep space.
An article published by the chief researcher of the Mogaisky Academy, Nikolai Shunevich, in the Russian military newspaper “Krasnaya Zvezda” stated that the studies conducted by scientists at the Academy and the University are aimed at designing electric rocket engines of a new generation and two platforms that will be used to carry out transport operations in space and transport space devices from Medium orbits to long working orbits.
The article pointed out that the project adopts an effective and promising technology for gas ionization in a vacuum using porous membranes. In order to confirm the potential of the new technology, the theoretical calculation of the engine components and the mathematical modeling of the gas ionization process were performed. Then a laboratory model of the electric rocket engine of a new generation was produced, where the discharge system was updated in order to complete the pyrotechnic experiment of the model.
In order to conduct successful fireworks experiments, scientists invented high-voltage power sources, a device for evaluating the thrust, and a system for supplying the model with limited doses of fuel, where xenon gases, argon, helium and air were used as intermediate working fuels.
The efficacy of the laboratory model of the electric rocket motor has been confirmed, the researchers at the Mojaysky Academy said. They added that the new engine is of great importance for the development of space technologies and that such engines are capable of facilitating the process of reclamation of the moon and other planets. It will be used in space locomotives, as a new class of space devices currently being developed by scientists in Russia, the United States and other countries.